Glad this didn't fall on me!
This is one of the biggest "Kaali Meteorite" craterrs - 110 meter in diameter. Is is estimated fallen around 660 plus/ minus 85BC. It is believed that the impact of the object was as strong as that of Hiroshima atomic bomb.
In a protective cove, under the wing of the castle, Kuressaare's beach looks hopefully out into the Baltic. This is where the locals gather on midsummer's night to dance, drink and burn great pyres. It's also a place for kids to play on slides that mysteriously disappear into the water, like Atlantis, and for gentle walks along the water's edge.
Kuressaare hosts a rather plain looking, but impressively intact castle on its coast. In fact it claims to be the only wholly intact medieval castle in all the Baltics. While not something that you'd come especially to Kuressare to see, it does make a pleasant sight sitting as it does in the still, green tinged waters of its moat.
The castle also contains a museum, which charts the history of the castle and town, but it's not particularly interesting.
On the opposite side of the castle to the beach is the town's harbour. Don't be confused by the ferry harbour down by the airport - that one is ugly and a long way away.
This harbour is where yachts from Finland, Latvia, Sweden, Britain and other North Sea countries park up for the night, and where the town's most expensive hotels and restaurants congregate.
It's a pleasant spot, and well worth a wander.
The main object of attraction in Kuressaare is the old Teutonic castle. It was built in XIV and still is the best preserved castle in Baltic States. Impressive huge fortress stands in the middle of diamond shaped island surrounded by water and heavy stone walls. The corners od the "diamond" are shaped like spears. The views are really great both from the land and from the castle walls and towers. For years it was the main stronghold and the residence of Saare-West Bishops. Now visitor can see the exhibit representic those glorious times. Part of the castle is given to museum which displays the history and culture, dayly life, traditions , art of Saaremaa. Various events take place at the castle yard.
Just like many other castles, Kuressaare Castle has it's own stories. One of them is about Lion Den- the big pit where lions lived( inother version- wolves). The castle was also a court at those times and the convicts were thrown down for the beasts. In fact, the pit is the main collector of the castle's sewerage system. But there really was a man thrown down. One of the Bishops was strangled. His murder wanted to hide the crime and it took few days untill the body was found in litter. Another story tells of a knight burried alive behind the stone walls. His body was discovered when reconstucting the castle. The skeleton went to dust when touched but the drawings were made. Now everyone can see the moulage of unlucky man in his cell next to the castle entrance......
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Cycling tour of Kuressaare
The whole of Saaremaa is flat so its absolutely perfect for cycling and there are some wonderful places to visit and explore.
Many tours are available for cyclists and if you are driving be prepared to be alert for cyclists on the roads.
For a 3 hour tour through the village of Kuresaare you can find out all information through this site. www.rbmere.ee
You can also organize to hire bikes and equipment from them. Tours are available for up to 8 days cycling.
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The main reason most tourists visit Kuressaare is for the Spa Treatments which are offered through the two major hotels in the village.
George Ots Hotel has a fantastic spa centre with an outdoor/ indoor swimming pool and several pools with jet spas, herbal baths and every available massage possible.
The other hotel is Hotel Ruutil which also offers endless massages and treatments to keep anyone relaxed for days.
If visiting Kuressaare one cannot miss this very special treat. We had a fabulous time at George Ots just indulging in all what was offered and even hubby who hates being pampered totally enjoyed himself, especially in the different jet spa baths.
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Exploring Kuressaare Village.
The small village of Kuressaare is very interesting with it's lovely wooden houses and leafy avenues and outdoor cafes blended with classical traditional buildings is perfect for a leisurely stroll for a few hours.
The Kuresaare Town Hall has the largest canvas painting in Estonia and is well worth a visit to see and across the road the Weighing House which was built in 1663 still has the original sealed scales which were used previously for trade in Estonia.
The village has some wonderful wooden houses which ooze with charm and character and is a photographer's dream if one is interested in traditional authentic buildings.
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Kurressaare Yacht Harbour.
The best way to experience the yacht club is by walking through the lovely park-lands of Kuressaare Castle down to the marina. You can take some wonderful photo's of the fortress from the yacht club.
Drop into George Ots Hotel for a relaxing beer or vino afterwards. There is also a small cafe attached to the yacht club which is perfect for afternoon drink or coffee.
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The castle and the fortress are the main attractions of Kurressaare. Its a beautiful castle surrounded by an artificial island and moat. The gardens and parks are gorgeous which lead down to a pretty sandy beach.
We were lucky to land in Kuressaare on the day of the Castle Festival and it was truly amazing with all the locals dressed in their traditional festive clothes and heaps of medieval games and markets taking place.
The fortress was built in the 14th century and is one of the best preserved medieval fortress in the Baltic States.
I highly recommend this attraction if visiting Kuressaare.
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Monument of the War for Independence
This monument is built to commemorate the islanders who lost their lifes fighting for the indendence of Estonia in 1918-1920. It was twice demolished by Soviet authorities (in 1940 and in 1945). It's not surprising Soviets didn't like it - Estonian War for Independence was against Bolsheviks.
Walk the streets of Kuressaare
It is a pleasure to walk around the one of most beautiful towns of Estonia. There are very few houses which are from Soviet times or newer. So, nothing much has changed in architecture in past 50-100 years, I suppose. The centre of town is quite small (what else can you expect of a town with population of 15 000?) and it will not take much time.
This 17th century house is most beautiful and probably one of the oldest buildings in Kuressaare. It is located in the central square of the town, so you will not miss it if you will take a walk through the town.
This 14th century castle in my opinion is the best example of medieval castle architecture in Baltics. That’s because many of survived castles here has been rebuilt in later centuries, but that's not the case for Kuressaare castle. It belonged to Bishop of Osel-Wiek who in 13th-16th century had his own feudal state - in modern Western part of Estonian mainland and in part of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa islands. Unfortunately there is very little information in many halls of the castle, so probably it is better to take a guide there - I hope it is possible to hire one there. I was a little bit disapointed after seeing whole castle and not getting enough knowledge about it.
Lions are attacking!
In the bishop's castle there is a Prisons tower. Bishops were not only spiritual leaders but also judges. Condemned to death were dropped into deep Lions shaft right below court hall. If someone walks over this dark shaft, you can hear lions roaring loudly. Quite frightening, if you are caught by surprise for the first time, as I was. :)
Here is attached story about lions shaft.
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